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Houses OKs changing valuation of big box stores in appeals

Michigan lawmakers have taken a step toward helping communities that are being forced to issue large refunds to large stores in property tax disputes.

A bill approved 97-11 by the House Wednesday would require the Michigan Tax Tribunal to determine the highest and best use of a property and ensure that comparable properties have the same use.

Large retailers have successfully persuaded the tribunal to lower the assessed value of new big box stores by factoring in vacant "dark stores."

The bill sponsor, Republican Rep. Dave Maturen of Vicksburg, says in some cases, the assessed value of a property has been lowered to less than the cost of the land alone due to the "loophole."

The bill next goes to the Senate for consideration, likely later this year.

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